More than 80 street children were rescued from the streets of Eldoret town in Uasin Gishu County on Monday night in a multi agency rescue mission conducted to rid the streets of children.
112 adults found sleeping in the streets with the children were also rounded up in the rescue exercise that involved various government and non government agencies.
The Uasin Gishu county co-ordinators for children services Julius Yator said all the children were moved to the Eldoret rescue centre where they will be processed, interviewed and screened so that those with parents can be reintegrated and those found to have no place to go to be assisted at the rescue centre.
“The planned inter agency intervention was necessitated by the high number of children in the streets, especially during this festive season and security concerns raised by residents”, said Yator
He said the children flock the streets of Eldoret because the streets are lucrative, “the residents of Eldoret are so generous giving monetory hand-outs to the children thus attracting others.
According to our investigations the children make up to Shs. 1000 in the streets daily”, said Yator.
He however dismissed recent press reports that there were 3,000 street children in Eldoret town,
“it is not true, the last survey done by an organisation called Oscar indicated that there are 1980 street families and children in Eldoret”.
Yator said unlike interventions done in the past to remove children from the streets, the current exercise was quite different since it involved all stakeholders dealing in children issues, including nongovernmental organisations and civil society groups. “The current exercise has been done in a humane manner and openly”.
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Yator warned that parents found to have neglected their children forcing them to the streets will be prosecuted.
A human rights activist residing in Eldoret Nick Ombito said for the first time the rescue mission was done in a humane way with the children’s rights fully respected.
“There was no harassment, the children were not beaten and those rescued were taken to a place that was already prepared for them with all respects of human rights being respected”, said Ombito.
Deputy OCPD Nicholas Ngomo said criminal activities involving adults in the streets has increased lately, “cases of muggings and pick-pocketing involving adult street families hiding behind the street children have increased that is why we rounded the adults as well”.
Ngomo said the adults will be processed by the criminal investigation department and those found culpable or have no registration will be arraigned in court to face the necessary charges”, he added.